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article imageUK: Asian bone marrow donor register increase following appeal

By Eileen Kersey     Nov 17, 2013 in Health
Tipton - Personal tragedy often leaves to inspirational behavior. The Bains family in the UK are in that unique, but tragic, position now — ethnic origin matters.
Their two-year-old son, Gaurav, urgently needs a bone marrow transplant but finding a matching donor is proving difficult. It is one case when the "color of your skin," or rather your ethnic origin matters. Sunday BBC News reported an increase in Asian bone marrow donors, following an appeal.
Bone marrow donations can save lives but donors must be a "match." Sometimes a match is found in the family but some times it is not.
As the UK NHS Choices website says "Bone marrow transplants are required when a person’s bone marrow becomes damaged or diseased to such an extent that it stops functioning properly."
So getting the right bone marrow match is vital and ethnic origin matters. Gaurav Bains, needs a bone marrow transplant and his father is making sure that the "ethnic origin matters" message is heard.
Gaurav was diagnosed with a rare condition, Monosomy 7 syndrome, shortly after his second birthday. "Without a bone marrow transplant he [Gaurav] will develop a particularly aggressive form of childhood leukaemia."
Event to increase donors
Event to increase donors
Gaurav's father Sunni began writing a blog about his son. A a series of events were organized to raise awareness that there is a shortage of Asian bone marrow donors in the UK.
The chances of receiving a bone marrow transplant in the UK, if needed, are good if you are white. For Asians the chance is less than half at around 40 percent.
Gaurav was diagnosed in July but due to the efforts of his loved ones the Asian bone marrow register has already increased significantly. However, more donors are still needed.
Sunni Bains said "Gaurav spent the last two Christmases and his second birthday in hospitals in Dudley and Birmingham. It would be great if he could celebrate this Christmas at home knowing a perfect bone marrow donor had been found."
If you want to help make that dream come true you can register via the Anthony Nolan website. Who was Anthony Nolan?
In 1971 Anthony Nolan was born with Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a rare condition, and his only hope for life was a bone marrow transplant. No match was found in Anthony's family and at that time there was no bone marrow donor register in the UK. In 1973 Anthony's mother Shirley began creating a register.
Shirley worked tirelessly campaigning and fund-raising and in 1974 the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow register was established at the Westminster Children's Hospital.
The register soon grew but it did not save Anthony. He died in 1979, aged 8.
Can you help Guarav and his family?
The good news is that there has been a 1200 percent increase in Asian donors since the plight of the Bain's family went public. 480 Asian donors registered between September and October. By comparison 40 registered during the same period in 2012.
The bad news is that Gaurav Bains and his parents are still looking for a bone marrow match. Hopefully that will soon be rectified.
More about United Kingdom, NHS, anthony nolan, Bone marrow, Stem cell transplant
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